cover image Indivisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins

Indivisible by Two: Lives of Extraordinary Twins

Nancy L. Segal, . . Harvard Univ., $24.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-0-674-01933-1

Segal, has devoted her professional career as a psychologist to the study of identical and fraternal twins. This anecdotal study, following up on Entwined Lives: Twins and What They Tell Us About Human Behavior, feeds our fascination with "the tiny twists and great puzzles behind individuals' similarities and differences." By delving deeply into the specific lives of 10 sets of twins, one set of triplets and a set of quadruplets, Segal operates less as a scientist and more as a perceptive listener. She tells about twins raised apart, like Gerry and Mark, who both became firefighters; when they met at age 31, says Gerry, "we were so alike, there was no need to get acquainted." Not so for Oskar, one of half-Jewish identical twins, a Catholic Hitler Youth member in Nazi Germany while his twin, Jack, spent his childhood as a Jew in Trinidad. The author consistently conveys empathy for the uncommon problems of her subjects, such as Agnes and Audrey, identical sisters whose lives changed dramatically when Audrey underwent a sex change operation. Segal opines that studying twins—"naturally conceived clones"—will help society grapple with the advantages and disadvantages of artificial human cloning, which she does not view unfavorably. 30 b&w photos. Agent, Angela Rinaldi. (Sept.)